Saba has delivered a special performance as the first public entity to receive an unqualified opinion on the 2014 financial statements. “A great achievement,” said Committee for Financial Supervision CFT Chairman Age Bakker.
This confirms CFT’s impression that in recent years the financial management of the island has improved significantly. “It is now imperative that the public entity continues to follow the same path by keeping its financial management in order,” a CFT-release stated.
The CFT for BES (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) met with the Island Governor and Island Council of Saba on March 18. Not only the 2014 financial statements and the 2015 and 2016 budgets were discussed, but extensive deliberations were also held on the general economic situation of Saba.
There will be considerable investments during 2016 on Saba, partly because funds have been made available to that end by the ministries in the Netherlands. The Island Council has also indicated that it will make more funds available to implement its own policy needs in order to strengthen Saba’s social and economic structure.
For several years now Saba’s budget implementation has been stable. Furthermore, necessary improvements have been made in the financial management, resulting in Saba receiving an unqualified opinion from its accountant on the 2014 financial statements.
Partly based on the confidence that the budget implementation emanates, the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations has decided to make the amount of US $0.6 million available as contribution to the structural improvement of the public entity’s liquidity position.
In the opinion of the Island Council, Saba’s budget offers insufficient room to make policy choices. The personnel expenses and the mandatory duties of the public entity take up a great deal of the available budgetary funds.
The local government has discussed this with the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, to determine how resources can be used in a more efficient way. Furthermore, deliberations are currently taking place with The Netherlands on follow-up actions resulting from the Spies Committee report and the reference study on the provisioning level of public entities, which was executed by research bureau Ideeversa.
Although only limited space can be used for own policies, investments in Saba increased substantially because special benefits and interest-free loans have been made available.
“Investments in 2016 will include amongst others the maintenance of the road to the port and the start of the construction of a solar park. These investments have a positive impact on the infrastructure of the public entity, whilst they also create the right conditions for stronger economic activity in Saba,” the release concludes.
The Daily Herald.